By Cole Parkinson
I’m sure some people read the headline and immediately answered with a “yes” — but let’s address this issue head-on. Last week, Minister of Justice Kaycee Madu stated “Our opponents do not want these pandemic and restrictions to end.” These “opponents” were the media, Alberta NDP and the federal government.
Madu quickly walked this statement back a few days later, but I’m sure plenty of people still believe this. But let me tell you, this just isn’t true. I can’t speak for every Canadian media member —but I can certainly speak for myself and how this pandemic has completely upturned my life for the past year.
When the pandemic first started in March 2020, I was 24. I’m now 25 and if it lasts until September, I’ll be 26. Did I really want to spend the vast majority of my 24 and 25 years locked down and unable to do anything I want? Absolutely not. I’ve missed out on birthdays, barbecues, weddings, Christmas, Thanksgiving, vacations and everything in-between just like everyone else.
Every Christmas since I was born, my immediate family has been going to my grandparents’ house — 2020 was the first time ever in my life that didn’t get to happen. I love my grandparents to death, but the risk of spreading any potential COVID transmission was too great, so we all decided it was for the best.
Now in 2021, my cousin is planning to get married in the fall and her sister currently lives in Australia — we have no idea if she’ll even be allowed to come over to attend the wedding.
This isn’t how any of us wanted this to go, but right now, it’s the reality and even if you don’t like it, the provincial government will continue to lock everything down if numbers climb. Have I wanted to spend weekend after weekend doing nothing? Nope, but I have been because I want this pandemic to end and if social distancing is going to help stop the spread, it’s a worthy cause in the long run.
And this process of continual lockdowns has been devastating to local business, and I feel for any business owners trying to stay afloat during these past 14 or so months. In reality, most businesses should have been able to stay open throughout the pandemic with added safety measures, but that hasn’t been the case, and it’s a shame they’re still dealing with this a year later. The frustration of watching all of your hard work melt away because the lockdowns continually shut your business down is something that shouldn’t still be happening in 2021.
So I ask again — does the media really want the pandemic to end? I may be only one man in said media, but I think I can safely say the vast majority are tired of COVID.
Between missing concerts, sporting events, going to movies, seeing friends, going to bars or any other of the many activities you can get up to, it’s been a long time since it’s felt normal.
I’ve been in a band for several years and we haven’t been able to play shows local or out of province for more than a year. And let me tell you, as getting on stage is one of my favourite things to do in the world, I would do anything to turn this pandemic off tomorrow just so that could happen.
I love sports, as I’m sure anyone who has read any of my columns of the past several years knows, and I miss being able to go to games —whether that be local or professional.
The Stanley Cup playoffs are underway and it’s absolutely a shame fans aren’t able to get into arenas to see these all-Canadian match-ups. Between not seeing the Maple Leafs in over a year and not being able to get out to several Blue Jays games this summer, it hasn’t exactly been a lot of fun for me.
Locally, I can honestly say going to Vauxhall Jets games on a Friday night is one of my favourite things to cover. And while I’m usually done shooting photos after the first two or three innings, I almost always stay until the end because the baseball is so entertaining.
The lack of local sports has been tough because these kids live for it. As someone who played competitive baseball and hockey from age four to 17, I couldn’t even imagine what my life would have been like if it was ripped away from me for years. I especially feel for the seniors graduating in 2020 and those graduating this year who were unable to wrap up their high school careers. My Grade 12 year in both baseball, hockey and just in general resulted in some of my greatest memories and they’ll live with me for my entire life.
And really, that goes for any graduating high schooler over the past two years who as they were robbed of their final year of high school.
As a reporter in the Taber area, I can tell you I’m really tired of COVID-19. I’ve written about it long enough to last for a lifetime and when it’s over, I hope I never have to talk about it ever again. It’s been way too long of a process and I understand the frustration because I’m there, too.
It looks like vaccines are the ticket to getting things to open up back to normal across Canada, and I believe if you want one, you should book one. With Alberta opening bookings for everyone over 12, there’s a ton of opportunity to get a vaccine. I’ve already got my first dose and I was in and out in 30 minutes. Other than a sore arm for a day-and-a-half, everything went great. I believe the minimal risk of a vaccine is worth it versus the big risks of contracting COVID-19.
I know people who have had COVID, even people who have died from it. I believe and trust scientists and doctors who say the vaccine is not only safe but an effective way of protecting against the virus. That being said, I don’t think it should be mandatory to get a vaccine. I believe people should be able to make choices for their own body in all situations, and not just with vaccines.
As he head towards summer, let’s all hope numbers continue to go down, vaccination numbers continue to grow and we finally get back to some sense of normalcy. Because at the end of the day, whether you’re in the media or not, we all want to get back to living our lives.